Today we wish a Happy 36th Birthday to 2004 hero Bronson Arroyo!
Arroyo spent three seasons with the Sox, including the historic 2004 season. During that season, Bronson tied the Red Sox record for hit batsmen in a season with twenty.
Wow. Twenty hit batsmen in a season. I’m surprised that with twenty of them, I’m having trouble remembering any of them.
Of course, Arroyo may have thrown the most famous plunking in some time when he nailed Alex Rodriguez with a pitch in July of 2004. That started a mild ruckus, and produced the most important photograph for any Red Sox man cave. When the Sox came back to win that game in the bottom of the ninth, it is often credited as being one of the turning points of the season.
A potential turning point of the postseason also involved Arroyo…and ARod. Arroyo got the start in game 3 of the ALCS, and got lit up. Much like everyone else in that game. So, when it came time for game 6 in New York, Arroyo came out of the pen in the eighth. With Jeter on first and the Yanks running out of time, ARod hit a slow roller down the first base line, where Arroyo scooped it up. ARod, clutch as always. Amazingly, when Arroyo applied the tag, the ball rolled out of his glove and down the line allowing Jeter to score. Replays showed why it happened. ARod, classy as always, had slapped the ball out of Arroyo’s glove. Oddly, you’re not allowed to do this as a runner. You can bowl over the catcher in a attempt to jar the ball loose. But, you can’t slap at his glove with your hand. When the umpires correctly ruled ARod out, and that Jeter return to first, it was a crushing blow for the Yanks.
The Sox went on to the World Series, where I was able to see Arroyo live during game 1. He got knocked around, but the Sox held out.
So, for a fairly minor player on the team, Arroyo found himself in a lot of major roles that season. Maybe that’s why so many people were upset when he was traded away.
Happy Birthday Bronson Arroyo!